I had the opportunity to first meet Erick Kaslov, at the New Jersey Horror Con and Film Festival in March of 2017, he was standing in a Halloween outside of a screening room handing out flyers for people to see his movie “Her Name was Samantha” (short film, showing late). I made my way over to him and had a great conversation about horror films, and movies in general, noting his great insight to wanting to convey the fear of characters emotions and transcend that more directly to the audience.
Baron Craze: Introduce yourself, how long have you been a filmmaker? Why?
Erick Kaslov: My name is Erick Kaslov, I grew up on the east coast, moved to Los Angeles at 14 and even lived in Hollywood, attending film school there. I currently reside in New Jersey. I started making movies when I was about 7 or 8 years old after my Mom bought me a brand new camcorder. You know one of those giant ones from the 1980’s? She spent about 2 hours at the store learning how to use it so she could teach me. I would make movies using my action figures and my dog. Doing that sparked my love of storytelling; that’s why I’m a filmmaker today. No matter how bad your life is, you can sit and watch a movie and for two hours forget about your problems; I guess you could say that’s a motto I live by.
BC: What films have you done? Awards nominated or won, festivals been too.
EK: During film school I did several shorts, only one of which, I would call good. In 2012 I made a short called “The Percipient,” 2014 I made the short film “Invoking”, and 2016 was my most successful short thus far, it’s called “Her Name was Samantha.” It’s been in five festivals so far, it took second place at the North Bay Arts and Film Festival in 2016 and was nominated for Best Short and Best Screenplay at New Jersey Horror Con 2017. The other festivals were the Brightside Tavern Short Film Festival 2016, Action on Films Festival 2016, and the Hang Onto Your Shorts Film Festival 2017.
BC: What director and writer influences?
EK: Wes Craven and John Carpenter are probably my biggest influences; Stanley Kuberick; Steven Spielberg. And from this current generation of filmmakers I am influenced by Adam Green, Ti Wes, James Wan, and Leigh Whannell… to name a few.
BC: How do you find inspiration for your projects?
EK: Inspiration can be found in anything, however, because I read a lot and am an avid film watcher I find myself creating stories based on what I haven’t already seen or read. When I watch something really great or timeless I think, however, “What can I do to improve on this genre, how do you top… “Psycho, for example.” Wow, this question made me feel like I was in that scene from Almost Famous!
BC: What is it about the Horror Genre that you enjoy?
EK: A better question in my mind is “What about it don’t I enjoy?” It’s really the perfect genre, it can be deep and introspective; violent and haunting and then it can be completely funny and irreverent.
BC: Strangest thing you’ve experience on a set? Some filmmakers stated accidents or other strange occurrences.
EK: I haven’t had anything majorly strange or an accident happen on set. However, as far as difficult experiences, I would have to say that the making of the short “The Percipient,” is the top of the list. It was so bad that I wanted to give up filmmaking, I can’t say much about it now, but when I make it big, I’ll take you to a nice dinner and share the whole story.
BC: What is the hardest scene you ever film? Most difficult thing you asked/ told an actor to do?
EK: I was holding video submitted auditions for a movie in which teenagers needed to be cast and the line in the script was “Pig-fucker! They had to say the line three or four times. What kept cracking me up as I watched the submissions was that their parents were filming them saying it and encouraging them to say it in a variety of ways. I felt really bad about myself after it was over.
BC: Where do you see the horror genre heading in the next 5 to 10 years?
EK: I think we will always get at least one or two good studio made horror movies every year. Like this year, we got Annabelle Creation and the reimagining of Stephen King’s “It”. However, I really feel that the future of horror movies is in the independents. People are learning that big budgets, studios or all the middle men aren’t needed to get the films made, marketed, and distributed. There is no more gatekeeper; you can make what you want and if it’s good it will find its way.
BC: What in the genre do you dislike most? Post Horror topics; remakes; so on…
EK: The thing I dislike most is the disrespect people give it. It seems like it’s a step below porn sometimes, like it’s so easy to do and it’s not a real form of storytelling. Also, some people make a horror movie saying, “Once I make this, I can make a real movie.” People in my own life have basically disowned me as a friend, because I make horror movies… treating me like I was a leper. At heart, I’m a fil maker who wants to tell a compelling story, horror is the vehicle I choose to deliver the story to people. I respect others who view horror movies in this light.
BC: What horror film hooked you on the genre itself? Not your favorite.
EK: I was born in 1981 so the trinity comes up a lot; Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Friday the 13th. In fact I was such a big Friday the 13th fan, that in 1st grade I went to the Halloween party at school as Jason. My mom made the costume and sent me to school with a fake bloody butcher knife. Obviously, the teacher made me hide the knife, I’m pretty sure I scared all the other kids.
BC: Horror fans are perhaps truly unique collectors of the genre (items, autographs, etc), what is your prize item? Tell us about how you acquire it. (could even been an award).
EK: Just recently my Nephew and Bother-in-Law drew a poster of all of the horror icons for me. Nothing I have ever bought, won or collected can top that. I’m including a picture of this prized possession.
BC: You run a podcast show; could you tell us more about it?
EK: My podcast began when I and my buddy Larry Sands reconnected. It started out as more of a therapy session for us as we lamented over the difficulties of trying to make movies. The Something Something Podcast has become more of a place where others can come on and promote their projects and join into the therapy sessions. Our vision is to use the podcast to influence others to follow their dreams and… I won’t lie to promote ourselves. Whenever we invite others to join us, the conversation and the comradery seems to not only encourage and bolster them but Larry and I as well and that makes it worth the effort.
BC: Thanks Erick for your time and good luck on the project you become involved with and striving for more successes.
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